Each year on the 10th of March, Nintendo celebrates the legacy of its mustachioed mascot, Mario. This year’s MAR10 is extra special because it also coincides with the 35th anniversary of the iconic Super Mario Bros. franchise.
As expected, Nintendo of America has provided a multitude of ways to celebrate Mario on this, the day that bears his name.
There are some impressive deals on a number of Mario-centric Switch titles—if you haven’t already, this is a perfect time to pick up Luigi’s Mansion 3 or Super Mario Maker 2—and you can purchase some 35th-anniversary merch from the Nintendo NY Store or store.nintendo.com for a cool 35% off. There are anniversary events going on in mobile titles Mario Kart Tour and Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, as well as everyone’s favorite lockdown distraction, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, on your trusty Nintendo Switch. And if you somehow don’t have one of those already, there’s even a new Mario Red and Blue edition Switch console!
However, my pick for the best way to celebrate this special MAR10 is by enjoying the newly released Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury.
When it originally arrived on the Wii U back in 2013, Super Mario 3D World was another triumph for the 3D Super Mario franchise. It combined free-roaming environments with a dash of new power-ups, madcap multiplayer, and some not-so-subtle nods to my personal childhood favorite, Super Mario Bros. 2.
Navigating an expansive overworld map controlling Mario, Luigi, Peach, Toad, and the rest took me right back to 1988—a time well before most Americans had ever heard the phrase Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic.
Yet even my kids, whose opinions were not so colored by Nintendo Power-era nostalgia, adored the experience. Barreling through transparent pipes, scaling obstacles in the shiny new Cat Suit, and rescuing Sprixies from Bowser’s evil clutches together made it a truly golden family gaming experience.
Now eight years later, 3D World arrives on the Nintendo Switch, with all of its charm (and the bulk of its gameplay elements) nicely intact. Most of what didn’t make the cut were minor features tied directly to the Wii U GamePad. There is, for example, no need to blow on your system to discover secret blocks or activate platforms. Which, admittedly, isn’t a huge loss.
However, though there’s no more Miiverse functionality—pour a little out for your dead homie—you’ll still find yourself discovering Stamps alongside the levels’ Green Stars. These can now be used to decorate screencaps in the game’s new Photo Mode.
On its own merits, Super Mario 3D World is already worth picking up, especially if you never had the pleasure of playing through its original Wii U iteration. Add to this the addition of the parallel title Bowser’s Fury, and the new version is a veritable must-own.
Set on the island chain around Lake Capcat, Bowser’s Fury sees an unlikely team-up between Mario and Bowser Jr. as they attempt to quell a corrupted, kaiju-sized Bowser by activating a series of purifying Cat Shrines. This is complicated by the aptly named Fury Bowser’s intermittent outbursts, which see shockwaves and fiery breath further imperil our improbable duo.
Enter the Giga Bell, a special new power-up that turns Mario into the fearsome Giga Cat Mario. Using your new Giga powers, you can go toe-to-toe against this bigger, badder Bowser in a way that feels both rewarding and unique in its super-sized combat, helping it fit nicely alongside 3D World while also being an enjoyable adventure all its own.
Despite its relatively scant playtime, Bowser’s Fury is a welcome addition to an already stellar gameplay experience, making the overall package that much more appealing to old hands and first-timer alike. So if you and yours have already conquered Super Mario Odyssey, run circles around Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and even revisited the glory of Super Mario 3D All-Stars, Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury is an ideal pick-up for gamers of all (feline) stripes.
Review and promotional materials provided by Nintendo of America. This post contains affiliate links. And a happy MAR10 to you and yours!